A Bend in Time (Never Without Her, Book 1) by Anne C Maxwell takes the reader on a journey through time as the two main character Omar and Elena discover much about themselves and about each other. Omar and Elena are both well-educated, from high-ranking families in Saudi Arabia. Although she grew up in Saudi, with Omar as a close friend and confidant, Elena is of European extraction and very different to him. They have, however, both always had a secret attraction for each other. When Elena, now an operative for British Secret Intelligence MI6, is delegated the task of infiltrating Omar’s London Bank and discovering whether the bank is secretly laundering money and funnelling it to terrorist organisations, Elena knows she will have trouble keeping her professional and personal lives separate. For Omar’s part, a possessive, dominating man, he quickly discovers Elena is not like other woman, whom he can snap his fingers at and have, at a moment’s notice. The story takes us on twists and turns, from London, to New York, to Riyadh and to France, through both time and location, as the pair face imminent death from several quarters. Will Omar and Elena manage to combine their love with their differing perspectives on life?
What lifts A Bend in Time (Never Without Her, Book 1) above the average, run-of-the mill, spy thriller is the additional plot twist of the time quirks. With both Elena and Omar being thrown back into differing histories, each has to find their own place in their respective, new societies. Both encounter relationships similar to the one they have with each other in the 21st Century. Using this technique Author Anne C Maxwell has elevated the story above that of a thriller. I found both main characters to be very sharply drawn almost to the point of caricature. Omar was the rich, successful, powerful, domineering, yet incredibly handsome Saudi businessman, with Elena being the absolute expression of the modern woman; beautiful, free, powerful, independent and very much in charge of herself and her life. This culture clash and the tension that created in this love affair made for interesting and absorbing reading. The pair’s adventures in their respective time bends also made for an interesting interlude to the story. As a first book in a planned trilogy involving these characters, the author has set the scene well for subsequent stories.